South Africa: Unmarried dads can now register their children’s birth

Published: 21/May/2020
Source: Daily Dispatch (East London)

By Ray Hartle

The legal ban on an unmarried father registering his child’s birth has been lifted by three judges of the high court in Makhanda, changing the status of countless “invisible” children whose births are not reflected on the population register.

The court has declared as unconstitutional the discrimination against unmarried fathers reflected in section 10 of the Births and Deaths Registration Act, which “implicitly bars the unmarried father of a child born out of wedlock” from registering the child under his surname if the mother is absent.

In various possible scenarios envisaged in the current law, the involvement of the mother is required, either through her actual presence or by giving her consent.

The court has changed the wording of the law to incorporate the right of an unmarried father to notify the birth of his child under his surname.

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Themes: Acquisition by children, Discrimination, Gender, Birth Registration
Regions: South Africa
Year: 2020